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My column on seeing ‘Blazing Saddles’ for first time

I have a lot of respect for Gene Wilder and that’s why I joined two friends on Saturday night for a special screening of Blazing Saddles. Wilder is very appealing in this film, love Cleavon Little in it and what a delicious treat Madeline Kahn is. But since I had not seen the film before, I was not prepared for the racial slurs, the gay slurs and gay stereotypes. I was surprised at how much it bothered me in the end and I share my thoughts in an Opinion piece over at Gay Star News. Check it out.

FILE UNDER: Movies

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(All comments are reviewed before being published, and I review submissions several times per day.)

2 Remarks

  1. The last time I watched ‘Blazing Saddles’ I was maybe 10? It made me laugh but I’m curious how I feel re-watching it as an adult.

  2. I think the best comedy, that which turns a spotlight on the uncomfortable parts of our lives, is the most pointed while not losing sight of it being comedy. (There are some comedians who simply got the brutal way, there’s no humor or light heartedness to redeem it for me.) This movie does that. It pokes fun at life and stereotypes. From westerns, to women and men, to gays and other races, they’re all targeted.

    Imagine sitting in a movie theater at the time it was current, perhaps it was one of your first movies where mixed races might be in the audience. Imagine that and how you might’ve felt as someone who used the terms you knew weren’t really cool, while people like your target were there with you. It must have given an uncomfortable tinge to the jokes.

    70s humor, especially gay and racial humor, was often very pointed and stereotypical to bring a sharp focus onto things. If it was too subtle, audiences wouldn’t respond or would see it as not harsh enough and thus pushing an agenda. Think of All in the Family. Would a character like Archie fly on TV today? I don’t think so, even on cable outlets. He was simply too sexist, homophobic, racist, and generally unpleasant to exist in current narratives as the main focus of the show. SNL, All in the Family, Maude, Jeffersons, Soap, and many others used harsh words and stereotypes to help bring our attention to where things needed to improve. Only the most bigoted among us must have been oblivious to that.

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